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Buying a home with a cohabiting partner

As more couples in Massachusetts are choosing to live together before getting married, some are deciding to purchase homes together. Experts warn against buying a home with an unmarried partner because of the difficulties that could happen if the relationship ends.

If a person wants to go ahead and buy a home with a cohabiting partner, it is best to view the transaction as a business contract. The couple can draw up an agreement that addresses all aspects of the purchase. This could include who is responsible for what portion of the down payment, the amounts each will pay toward the monthly mortgage payment, repair costs, utilities, property taxes and what will happen if the couple decides to go their separate ways.

Another route a cohabiting couple could go is for only one person to buy the home and put it in their own name. The agreement in a situation like that might call for the other partner to pay monthly rent in a fair amount to the partner who owns the home. If the relationship ends, the person who has the mortgage can remain in the home while the other can move away having paid a fair rental amount while in the home.

When a married couple decides to divorce, their marital property is generally divided between them according to the laws of the state. Unmarried couples do not have the same rights to property they acquire jointly. Therefore, those in a cohabiting relationship may wish to consult a lawyer before jointly purchasing a home.

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